16 Weeks to Your Best Marathon: Weeks 5 to 8

In weeks 1 to 4 of marathon training with the ChiRunning technique, you learned that good running form should be the foundation of your training. Practicing good technique prevents unnecessary pain and injury while helping you reach your race goals—whether that's crossing the finish line, setting a new PR, or minimizing recovery time.

As your mileage increases, you enter the next phase of training in weeks 5 to 8: conditioning to build endurance. Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or a first-timer, every runner can benefit from improving their conditioning. There are two ways to build endurance: challenge yourself with different running workouts, and make your long slow distance runs as effective as possible.

More: 4 Ways to Make Your Long Runs More Effective

Up the Ante With These Workouts

Complete each of these workouts once a week during your conditioning phase. See the sample training plans for weeks 5 to 8 at the end of this article.

Hill Runs

Even if your marathon doesn't have hills, hill runs are a great way to get a good cardio workout. Your heart rate significantly increases on the uphill sections, and the downhill sections allow your heart to return to its basic aerobic rate.

Find a place where you can run low, rolling hills. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes on level ground, if possible, before starting up your first hill. These workouts should be about 40 minutes to an hour.

Uphill Running Techniques:

  • Lean into the hill from your ankles.
  • Shorten your stride length so your feet land underneath you. This prevents you from using your legs to pull you up the hill.
  • Swing your arms forward and up.
  • Remember to keep your heels down to avoid overworking your calves.

More: Keys to Effective Uphill Running

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